Small Business Saturday Blog

How Amazon is helping one woman tackle taboos and period poverty

Friday, November 22 at 00:30

Julie Colan of Secret Whispers is on a mission to reduce the number of women suffering from incontinence, tackling this embarrassing yet avoidable condition through the use of her unique Kegel exercise kit along with support and education on pelvic floor issues.
Julie says: “After giving birth to my second child, I was shocked by the lack of suitable products or information to help improve my pelvic floor. I was also horrified that women are led to believe it is ‘normal’ to cross their legs when they laugh or sneeze. Further research showed that (at least) 50% of women have weak pelvic floor issues, and urine incontinence after childbirth is almost expected.”
She adds: “I also found that this was a totally taboo subject. Women were not talking about it. When I asked other mums at school about their pelvic floors, they were hesitant at first, but I learned that most wore pads and believed that this was normal after childbirth. After more research it became very apparent that there was a total lack of information and support available to women regarding their pelvic floors.”
Julie now aims to change this, and has launched her own company, Secret Whispers, one of the top 100 trail-blazing businesses in the UK this year.
In January 2018, after failing to find a suitable product that could help strengthen her pelvic floor, Julie decided to design her own, creating a Kegel exercise kit with a six step programme that challenges the pelvic floor by gradually and safely increasing the weights being used. As her first ever product, this was a huge undertaking and everything was learned by doing it herself and researching what was necessary. Julie talks of months spent speaking to manufacturers, graphic designers, photographers, shipping companies and more all over the world, often into the small hours of the morning, all while juggling the responsibilities of caring for two small children.
Finally, seven months after Julie decided to design her own kit, the finished product arrived in the UK. Julie says: “The response was amazing. Women loved that I was talking about this taboo issue and delighted to learn that there now was a product available to help them improve the strength of their pelvic floor.”
Julie arranged for a distribution warehouse in Blackpool to take her shipments, inspect them and then send them to Amazon’s warehouse.
She says: “Being able to sell on Amazon has been instrumental in me reaching such a huge geographical area. The reach is tens of millions! You don’t even need a website. With a seller account, I can sell in the UK and the EU, and now plan to expand into Australia, Canada and India, as there has been such demand from these countries.”
Julie adds: “Amazon makes the whole process extremely easy. My warehouse sends the shipment in to Amazon. Amazon then stores in their warehouse and distributes various quantities to their other warehouse locations, enabling prime next day delivery for customers. Once an order has been placed Amazon picks, packs and ships to the customer. They literally do the heavy lifting for me.”
“Not having to worry about warehouse space, picking, packing and shipping to customers enables me to concentrate on the other aspects of my business. Similarly, when a customer orders on my website, Amazon has the feature of ‘Create a fulfilment order’. Through the Amazons seller central web interface we can place this order and Amazon fulfils it, picking, packing and shipping to the customer.”
“Launching on Amazon was instrumental to my brand awareness. This year we have won many awards and this in turn has gone a long way to raising our visibility and reaching more women.”
Julie is now about to launch her second product, the Secret Whispers CupIT Kit, which will also tackle period poverty by donating a cup for every box sold.
Visit Secret Whispers on Amazon here.

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